De Se Attitudes and Semiotic Aspects of Cognition
In this article, I will re-examine some of the classical puzzles for de se attitudes that have been laid out by Hector-Neri Castañeda, David Lewis and John Perry in various articles and compare them with Jackson’s Knowledge Argument. The origins of these puzzles go further back to work by Russell on egocentric particulars, by Frege in ‘Der Gedanke’, Wittgenstein’s considerations on subject-uses of I in the Blue Book, and work by Roderick Chisholm. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that de se puzzles gained widespread popularity only later due to publications by Castañeda (1967), Perry (1977, 1979), and Lewis (1979).
The article starts with a survey of well-known de se puzzles: Perry’s supermarket example, his Rudolf Lingens example, and David Lewis’s Two Gods thought experiment. I will then discuss Jackson’s Mary example, which bears a striking similarity to de se puzzles. After this primarily exegetical part, I will address the question regarding what these puzzles have been taken to show and what they really show. My central thesis is that typical de se puzzles reveal an important and epistemically irreducible aspect of thinking, but do not allow for any conclusions regarding physicalism and the Mind-Body problem. As I will argue, there is a special kind of introspective knowledge, the existence of which is fully compatible with physicalism and this special kind of ← 121 | 122 → knowledge results from the fact that all sorts of episodal thoughts plays a...
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